Source of image: Holyart.com
Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Pietà, depicting Christ in the arms of His mother Mary, is one of the most famous works of art of all time and one of the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance. Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, it is almost impossible to view this sculpture without feeling deeply touched by it, awakening feelings deep within our souls. The Pietà has inspired millions of people who have seen it, moved by the compassion of Mary and the sacrifice of our Savior.
One of the most celebrated artists of all time Michelangelo, was an absolute genius and created the Pietà in his early twenties. After the statue was commissioned by a group of cardinals in 1497, Michelangelo personally visited the Carrara marble quarries to choose the block of marble from which he would free his statue.
Clearly, Michaelangelo was gifted with his hands. But he also had the gift of vision. Florence’s Accademia Gallery hosts Michaelangelo’s David sculpture, as well as many of his half-finished sculptures. It is well known that when Michelangelo looked at a slab of marble, he saw a figure hiding inside who wanted to be set free. His philosophy was to chip away the marble to uncover that hidden figure. “Every block of stone has a statue inside it,” Michaelangelo said, “and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
In similar fashion, when God looks at us, He sees us as we are (like a block of marble), but also a figure hiding inside who wants to be set free of the bondage of sin and fear of death. He can see our inner potential that nobody else can yet see. And like a brilliant sculptor who chips away stone, if we will allow Him – if we repent of our sins and receive Christ as Savior, he will remove all the dross of our flesh – our sin that gets in the way of our life in the Spirit.
He then calls us to a higher calling and purpose in our lives:
· a love for us to experience that can transform us,
· a battle for us to engage in that is worth fighting, and
· a story for us to live in that is far bigger and better than we have known.
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9
So if we trust His hand and vision, He’ll transform us into something more beautiful than we ever dared to imagine, and we can inspire others as the Pietà does to those who encounter it. And then, just as people look at the Pietà and see Jesus, so they will look at us and see Jesus as well.
How about you – are you responding to His call on your life? Are you willing to allow Him to chip away every part of your life that gets in the way of a life in the Spirit? If we are not – if we resist the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we will be like one of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures, that people briefly notice and wonder what we really could have become. And when we stand before the Lord on Judgement Day, He will say: “Depart from Me; I never knew you.”
Each individual we encounter in our lives – family, friends, acquaintances, or strangers, are like Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures; called but still not fully shaped and polished into the image of God. So let us go forth and witness to them with the love and truth of Christ, that they can become transformed, free of the bondage of sin and the fear of death, for time is short, eternity is forever, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.
To God be the glory